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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  March 19, 2012 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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month but some people think they're entitled to make $60 million and $240 million a year. it just is beyond extreme hengs. but it wasn't enough for them. they had to make more and more and more. so millions of people that i represent that were in new york and florida lost their life savings. are we going to go back to these days? just because we want a bumper sticker that says we are about creating jobs here? we're creating jobs right now in america. maybe it's not fast enough for everyone, but every month the reports come out. let's not rush and do something that will set us back. that's what aarp says. they said we're writing to reiterate our opposition to the lack of investor protection in
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h.r. 3606. so if you vote tomorrow for cloture on h.r. 3606, i hope when you go back home the members of aarp, the largest and one of the most politically powerful groups in the country will ask you why did you vote on that bill. and please don't tell me it's about creating jobs. it's really about pulling out the rug from investor protections, of which many older americans who have a lifetime of savings and investments are disproportionately represented among victims of investment fraud. they go on to say, "we share the concerns raised by s.e.c. chair mary shapiro, the northern american securities administrator, law professors, advocates and others that absence safeguards ensuring proper oversight, the various provisions in h.r. 3606 may well open the floodgates to repeat the kind of penny stock and
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other frauds that ensnared financially unsophisticated and other vulnerable investors in the past." "aarp urges the senate to take a more balanced approach." mr. president, that's what we're trying to do, take a balanced approach. i'm not trying to kill the crowd funding idea. i'm not trying to kill the i.p.o. on-ramp idea, which is to help fast-growing they call them ggazelles, to be able to grow a little before they have to bear the burden of some of those regulations. while important, can be burdensome. i understand that. and my committee has been working for months coming up with some very interesting ideas about how it get capital into the hands of small businesses. it is not something that i am unaware of. but the house bill is not the way to go. even president obama sent a
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statement, the white house sent a statement -- and i'm going to get it for you in just a minute to put it into the record because i think it's important to see the nuances here. yes, it is true that the president did support the house bill. it is true that some very good democrats who are very good watchdogs on this voted for the bill. but let me read you the last sentence of the president's latest statement of administrative policy and the nuance is important. it says, "the administration supports the house passage of the bill h.r. 3606" -- that's what they said in the house. but the last sentence says, "the administration looks forward to continuing to work with the house and the senate to craft
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legislation that facilitates capital formation and job growth for small business and provides appropriate investor protections." the nuance is very important here. the white house is signaling that while they do support h.r. 3606, they would also welcome additional work to put investor protections into the law. and i think that's good. i know that this president and this administration that's worked so hard to clean up wall street, that has held the automobile industry from the brink of financial collapse and has brought it back, that has restored confidence on wall street under great controversy and great criticism. it's one of the proudest achievements of this administration. under no circumstance would we
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want to go backwards, not at this crucial point. and that's what i'm afraid if we don't fix this bill exactly what will happen. i wish that i could have this, you know, in a larger format, but private-sector job growth, if -- i don't know if the cameras can see this. this was the loss of jobs under the former administration, the loss of jobs when president obama took office. and now you can see this almost reversing itself, with jobs being created in almost every month and every quarter. more than 3.9 million private-sector jobs have been created in the past 24 months. and, yes, we need to do more, but h.r. -- the house bill goes too far. don't just take my word for it. listen to bloomberg editorial,
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"the boston globe" op-ed against the house bill, "the investment news" editorial, "jobs act merits greater scrutiny." "business journal" -- now, this is blog 3 but these are pretty reputable blog. we don't just take any blog to bring here to the floor of the senate. these are reputable bloggers that have received some kind of following. why the jobs act should be in trouble. "new york times" column, "paving path to fraud on wall street." "jobs act: to rewrite the rules of silicon valley investing." now, this is very interesting, because i know i get -- my staff tells me that the quote "biocommunity" and the -- quote -- "high-tech community" are for this bill. i get that. but this is what i don't understand.
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protect start-ups -- this is quoting from one of the blogs by rafie needleman. "for tech start-ups here" -- he's writing as if he's in silicon valley, and he is -- "there's a lot of smart money looking for new places to land, and these funding sources cannot only write sizable checks, they can offer start-ups other material benefits: connections, tactical and strategic advice, and partnerships with other start-ups in their portfolio." so the question he's asking is why, basically, is it necessary to move outside of these traditional sources when there's plenty of money, they're just looking for some really good ideas.
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throwing more money through an unregulated financial scheme is not going to create any new ideas. it's just going to create a lot of money that could be taken advantage of by very sophisticated people that understand how to take good ideas and twist them into greed and fraud if you don't have the right protections. so there is a lot of capital out there. it's just not necessarily in the right place. there's some opportunity for us to do some things, but the last thing the senate of the united states would want to do is debate this bill on the floor of the senate. this bill needs committee work. this bill needs to go to a markup where it can be, in a few days, debated, negotiated, there can be amendments back and for forth, and fix some of the problems. the last thing we need to be doing is flying a bill of this nature right through the senate
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of the united states. and as i said, mr. chairman -- i mean, mr. president, there's not been a jobs bill that i haven't kind of rushed to the floor. it may not be perfect but i've said look, we've got to create jobs, let's try it, let's do it, we've tried some new things. but when i saw that this bill from the house was coming directly to the floor without going through the banking committee, that made me nervous. it made, you know, my political instinctinstincts stand up and , wait, wait, why are we rushing here? and the more i learned and the more i read, it became apparent to me, this bill from the house is not ready for primetime. it is not ready to go to the president's desk for signature. so senator reid, the ranking member on bank acciden banking,r
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levin, who has been a voice of wisdom on financial deregulation and fraud and the scams that have occurred not just on wall street but -- but offshore in secret island accounts, people who have ripped off our citizens and then run for the hills and we can't find them or run to the islands. he knows about these things. he said, wait a minute. what is going on here? so that is why we're here. and i know the senator is here to speak so let me wrap up by saying we have, we have offered, in the spirit of trying to improve the house bill, a substitute. i'm going to vote for the substitute. it's a reed-landrieu-levin substitute. i hope our members and some republicans -- i hope many republicans but if we could get a few, that would be good -- to vote for our substitute. and if we get cloture on that, then we will go to a 30-hour
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debate on our substitute. and i want that bill to be open to amendment. i'm not trying to ram anything through here. it -- we should be open to amendments. maybe 10 on the republican side, 10 on our side, or whatever the leadership can agree to. so that we can address even some of the problems in our own bill that we had to rush so quickly to get a substitute in. there are one or two things that we would like to correct in our bill that have been raised to our attention. but, please, under no circumstance, in conclusion, if you can't vote for our substitute, please vote "no" on cloture on the house bill, on the ill-advised political opportunity bill, whatever they call it, the i.p.o. bill, the jobs act bill, the on-ramp bill. they have a dozen names for it. but what it does is just what "the new york times" said, it's a pathway to fraud. we don't want to go back there.
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just what bloomberg says, it's bipartisanship that we cannot raise a glass to. they said, we wish we could toast it but we cannot raise a glass. it goes too far. now, we have an opportunity to do something really good here for our markets. and you know, mr. president, you're from the state of connecticut which has a tremendous amount of financial sesophistication and you are wel aware, as a former prosecutor, how important some of these issues are. but it's important to get this right. the bill, again, has come over from the house, rushed over here, has not gone through our banking committee. i would be happy to negotiate with anybody on this floor. i am not, you know, we haded to any particular position on the small business pieces.
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they're in there, they're good. question take them out and it can just be a banking bill. although we have a lot of support for the increase in the sbic's and the 504 lending, which is very important to the business lending community. but i feel so strongly about getting the deregulation part of this bill correct, i'd take that out if it would help my republican colleagues to negotiate on the other part of the bill. so i see senator levin on the floor. i'm going to turn it over to him now. but, please, i'm -- i'm really pleading with my colleagues, take a look at this house bill, just read some of the details, read some of the great financial columnists, both left and right, who have written us against the house bill and urge further consideration. and i yield the floor. mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: mr. president, before the senator from louisiana leaves the floor, i just want to commend her for the passion that she has brought to this debate as well as the reason and the
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wisdom that she's brought to this debate. this is a bill that is extremely complex. the house bill comes over here. it has almost zero attention that it deserves because of the complexity that is in this bill. but senator landrieu has just been a voice just appealing to us to do what the senate should do, which is deliberate. i say if there's ever been a bill which cried out for deliberation, it is this bill. the way it stands now, amendments are not going to be in order. and it's not the way we should proceed in this body and we are all grateful -- i hope everyone is grateful to senator landrieu for kind of blowing the whifl on th --blowing the whistle on the 100-mile-an-hour train that is moving through this senate unless we stop it tomorrow and say, slow this down and let us look at the details of the provisions i in this bill.
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in the years since the financial crisis sent our economy into a tailspin, many of us in the senate have sought to do what we could to create the conditions for a rebound. in the job market so that american workers could find the jobs that they need. we have fought, we've debated, we've scratched, we've clawed our way to do everything we could to boost job creation.d now before us is a bill called the jump-start our business start-ups act. that acronym reads, the jobs act. now, just because you can come up with an acronym which spells jobs should not believe anybody to believe that this necessarily makes it a jobs bill. it is obviously a clever acronym, been picked up by many people in the media. all of a sudden it is a jocks bill. when you look at this bill and when you luke at the people who are in this bill, who have analyzed it, including people who are in the investment
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people, including the people who protect investors from fraud and abuse, from their perspective, from the s.e.c.'s perspective, this is not a jobs bill. this is a bill which threatens jobs in this country. so it's supporters say it will create jobs, but, again, just making it possible for an acronym to spell jobs doesn't make it a jobs bill. in the alice & wonderland, humpty dumpty could confidently declare to alice when i use a word it means just what i chose it to mean. well, we don't have that luxury here in the senate. calling it a jobs bill doesn't make it a jobs bill. and there's a rising wave of overwhelming concern among those who know this area the best that the ground that we're about to tread on, far from helping to create jobs, is going to put
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jobs in jeopardy. the house bill before us would, its support irrelevance tell us, a-- its supporters tell us, allow companies greater access to the capital that they need to grow, market their products, and hire new workers. its supporters say it'll create new links between inveferltses seeking new opportunities and the companies who can put those investments to work. for that to take place, investors need confidence that the new opportunities that we seek to create are sound investments. but what are the investors telling us? they're telling us just the opposite. if this bill will help businesses attract new investors, why are the council of institutional investors and some of the largest pension funds and investor funds in the nation telling us that it will frighten investors away rather than attract them?
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if this bill will create new growth opportunities for small businesses, why are business groups from the main street alliance to the u.s. chamber of commerce appealing to us for change? is this bill will allow companies to access capital more easily, why are the current chairman of the s.e.c. and former s.e.c. chairman of both political parties telling us that this legislation will dampen capital formation rather than help it? in the guise of job creation, this legislation rolls back important investor protections and transparency requirements that are fundamental to our capital markets. under the legislation that the house has sent us, investors will know less about the companies they are solicited to invest in, they will have less confidence those companies follow standard accounting practices, they will have no
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assurance that the solicitation that they have just received over the internet or by telephone is for a legitimate company and for a boiler room fraud operation. it does not have to be this way. we can remove obstacles to small bis growth without creating new opportunities for fraud. we don't need to endanger jocks in the guise of helping to create jobs. senator jack reed, senator landrieu, senator brown and i believe we can create new opportunities for growing companies without creating a wild west mentality in our capital markets. and now to outline just a few of the ways in which we seek to repair the flaws of the house bill and enable real growth and job creation. right now, mr. president, companies that need capital to grow and add jobs are allowed to sell stocks in some cases without oversight by the s.e.c.
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and under looser legal liability rules. but in return for that reduced oversight, the companies must sell almost exclusively to investors that meet high-income or asset thresholds that help to ensure that they are able to understand and absorb the high risk of these investments. right now companies making these largely unregulated offerings are not generally allowed to offer them to the public. the house bill will allow companies to market these unregulated stock sales known as private of course offerings to e public. they can advertise on billboards or on cold calls to senior living centers with almost no oversight. our substitute would ensure that firms could sell these unregulated offerings only to
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investors better able to withstand the risks and we direct the s.e.c. to develop advertising standards. these provisions in our substitute heed the lesson from an earlier mistake. in 1992 the s.e.c. loosened rules on these unregulated stock sales but reestablished restrictions just seven years later, in part due to widespread fraud. that's why groups like the aarp says "the house legislation represents a very considerable redrawing of the lines between the public and private markets and should not be enacted without greater attention to the potential risks of such an approach." they urge the senate to adopt a much more narrowly targeted approach. the state security administrator saying, "state security regulators are deeply concerned that the internet will be flooded with new securities
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offerings and there will be no way for regulators or perspective investors to reasonably determine if the issue certificate a legitimate business or a criminal with good computer skills." now, there's another problem. right now companies with more than 500 shareholders and $10 million or more in assets are deemed large enough and public enough that they must register with the s.e.c. registration means that they must provide the s.e.c. and the public with regular financial reports and other information to help ensure that investors and regulators have an accurate picture of a company's finances. that's the current situation. it also means that companies must comply with accounting and other transparency standards that help to ensure the integrity of the market. well, what does the house bill do in the house bill allows firms with up to 2,000
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shareholders and perhaps significantly more and with billions of dollars in assets to avoid registration and disclosure requirements, leading investors -- meaning investors of even large companies would have no meaningful information on these firms. it would allow banks of any size to avoid yofe oversight if theye fewer than 1,200 shareholders. this is not a small business bill. this is a big business bill in many key respects. now, what do we do in our substitute? we ensure that large companies with wide public stock ownership register with the s.e.c., file regular financial reports, and follow standard accounting rules. we allow one shareholder to hold shares for many beneficial owners by clarifying that when determining when a stock is wildly enough held to trigger
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the disclosure requirement requs accounts its beneficial orientation not just owners of record. we do ease regulatory requirements, as does the house bill, for growing companies that use stock to recruit and compensate employees by exempting them from shareholder account requirements. now, what do some of the outside independent viewers say about this? main street alliance -- rolling back basic transparency rules like s.e.c. registration won't help small businesses. instead, it will tilt the playing field toward unscrupulous actors who are looking to game the system. americans for financial reform -- the house bill would make it possible for companies, including very large companies with a large number of shareholders, to avoid making
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the periodic disclosures on which market transparency depends. the house bill's combination of unregulated stock offerings marketed to the general public, along with allowing even large, widely held companies to dodge meaningful transparency requirements, means that very large companies could market their shares to the general public with no meaningful oversight. they could do so without ever giving investors an accurate picture of their financial condition and without following standard accounting practices. the house bill is a recipe for widespread fraud that could undermine the integrity of stock markets, frighten investors away from the market, and kill jobs instead of creating them. now, what else exists currently that would be changed by the house bill? what would be corrected by our substitute? right now rules are in place to
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prevent conflicts of interest at investment banks by building a wall between research analysts who advise investors and salespeople who try to convince investors to buy new stocks that they are underwriting. for example, at investment banks competing for the lucrative business of helping companies go public, the current rules prevent the banks for competing for that business by promising companies that their research analysts will give favorable recommendations on the company's new stock. these rules were put in place based on the lessons of the dot-com publiof th of the bubbl. it woulthis has raised concern g
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regulators, investment groups, and businesses that investment banks might issue misleading research in order to attract underwriting business. what is does the chairman of the s.e.c. say? the house bill could return us to conflicts of interest which ultimately severely harm investor confidence. we in our substitute would keep these conflict of interest rules in place as they currently exist. what does the chamber of commerce say? this is called a jobs bill, pro-business bill. this is what the chamber says about this provision. "there may be a blurring of bong daries that could -- of bong daries that could -- of boundaries. s.e.c. chairman, what does she say? i'm concern that the house bill could foster a returning to the conbe flicted practices and cause real and significant practices to the investors. what do the state securities
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administrators say? these are the folks that try to protect us from fraudulent or erroneous entials rillet to securities. -- relative to securities. "weakening should -- what does our stat.>> the financialage ift institute. "in particular, we are concerned that the proposal to permit brokerage firm analysts write and distribute research on companies whose i.p.o. shares their firms are underwriting will lead to the kind of conflicted research that decimated investor confidence in the late-1990's and early 200's. another provision. current law companies that want to raise companies by selling stock to the public must comply with accounting and disclosure rules. to help give inveferltses accurate information on the
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company's finances. these companies must obey standard accounting rules and have adequate internal controls. many of these rules were a response to high-profile accounting frauds such as enron and worldcom and some were in the dodd-frank act in the wake of financial crisis. my permanent subcommittee on investigations investigated enron. we saw what happened in the absencabsence of these kind of standard accounting rules being followed by companies. so what does the house bill do? it creates a new class of company called emerging growth companies with up to $1 billion in annual revenues. how's that for small business? $1 billion of annual revenues would be exempt from many of these accounting standards and function disclosure. this $1 billion figure is so high that it would have exempted well over 80% of all companies that made initial public stock offerings and would exempt them
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from meaningful disclosure and integrity rules in recent years. $1 billion in revenue is not anybody les reasonable definition of a small company. what would we do in our substitute? we would reduce the house bill's revenue exemption from $1 billion to $350 million, making it easier for truly small firms to raise the money to grow, but we maintain important transparency requirements for large companies. what are the outside -- what do the outside independent folks have to say about this particular provision? the council of institutional investments, again, representing the largest investors in this country, pension funds and so forth. they say the council is concerned that the thresholds may be too high in establishing an appropriate balance between facilitating capital formation and protecting investors. the chairman of the s.e.c. says -- quote -- "the definition of
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emerging growth company is so broad that it would eliminate important protections for investors even in very large companies." the former s.e.c. chief accountant says the house bill changes for companies of up to $1 billion in revenues is a -- quote -- "fundamental reduction and a level of transparency and regulation for companies going public." finally, the issue of crowd funding, so-called, where there are small investments by large numbers of people. right now the rules generally prohibit a company from raising very small amounts from ordinary investors without significant costs. some businesses would like to attract small investments from ordinary investors by selling shares through the internet, through using intermediaries or funding porters, a practice known, again, as crowd funding. if done right, this could be a useful tool of the internet age
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that helps innovative companies find the funding that they need to grow and to add jobs. but the house bill allows crowd funding with almost no oversight or investor protections. companies can solicit under their bill, they can solicit investors through the internet with virtually no regulatory oversight, no liability for misstatements, no transparency or other investor protections. senior citizens, state securities regulators and others worry that this is going to give rise to money laundering and to fraud. one expert calls it the boiler room legalization act. by allowing companies and funding intermediaries to solicit small investment with little oversight or accountability, the house bill essentially legalizes the business model of unscrupulous boiler rooms. our substitute creates new
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opportunities for crowd funding when we establish basic regulatory oversight, liability and disclosure rules that will give investors the confidence to participate in what could be a promising emerging source of money for growing companies. now, what do the outside groups have to say about crowd funding provisions in the house bill? the aarp, crowd funding web sites could become the new turbo-charged pump and dump boiler room operations of the internet age. meanwhile, money that could have been invested in small companies with real potential for growth would be siphoned off into these financially shakier, more speculative ventures. the net effect would likely be to undermine rather than support sustainable job growth. the consumer federation of america, allowing direct issuer through investor solicitation
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over the internet and preventing appropriate regulation of crowd funding portals as the house bill would do is a recipe for disaster. professor john coffee, who has written a textbook on this subject, says that without some changes, one of these bills -- and that's the base text of the jobs act -- could well be titled "the boiler room legalization act of 2011." mr. president, the provisions of the house bill send the message that the only way we can grow our economy and create new jobs is to lower the protections that give investors confidence in financial markets. the house bill -- the house bill will subject investors to greater risk of fraud. it will put pension funds and church endowments at greater pe reul and endanger -- peril and endanger the financial stability of families and the financial stability of our economy. we have walked this path before.
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lowering our defenses to fraud an abuse has preet lid brought our country law. we phroerd defenses -- we lowered defenses in fraud in the savings and loan industry. the result was collapse. we dropped defenses in financial statements and swap markets. that led to the enron crisis. we lowered our defenses against heedless risks in the financial system and created the great recession. did any of those steps help our economy grow? did lowering those defenses create a single job? well, there are 8.6 million reasons to believe that eliminating barriers to fraud and abuse destroys jobs instead of creating them. that's the 8.6 million americans who lost their jobs in the financial crisis. and we need not make that same mistake. we don't need to embrace without amendment a house bill that
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threatens fraud, abuse, investor doubt and renewed crisis. we can embrace reforms that give small companies, the engines of our economy, the chance to grow without endangering the economy. we need not just to debate but to offer amendments to the house bill. our substitute is one amendment. we should not -- we should not -- deny this senate what is supposed to be a deliberative body, the opportunity to amend a bill which will have such major consequences as the house bill will. and so i hope that tomorrow, after we vote on our substitute, assuming it does not pass, that we will then vote on the house bill. and i do hope that we will not make the terrible, tragic mistake of denying ourselves the opportunity to amend that house bill. and i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum.
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mr. akaka: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. mr. akaka: mr. president, i rise today to join my colleagues in supporting the invest in america act. the senate substitute amendment to h.r. 3606 that would add critical improvements and investor market protections to the bill that we received from the house. in order to keep our nation on a path to economic recovery, we must help small businesses access capital and reduce barriers for start-ups. however, we should not do so at the price of consumer safety or market integrity. we must be very careful to do
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all we can to promote robust capital investment and at the same time ensure invested protections are securely in place. many, many groups have voiced staunch opposition to passing an unamended h.r. 3606 for fear of its effects on the investors and the market. opponents include the aarp, afl-cio, afsme, americans for financial reform, consumer action, the consumer federation of america, public citizen, the economists committee for stable, accountable, fair and efficient financial reform, and u.s. perg
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and other investor protection groups. they have said that the bill will in fact only make it more difficult for a small business to access investment capital. and it risks exposing investors to a new round of damaging fraud and abuse while undermining market transparency. president obama recently urged the senate to find common ground by supporting the most effective aspects of the house bill to increase capital formation for growing businesses while also improving the house bill to ensure there is sufficient safeguards to prevent abuse and
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protect investors. i cosponsored the substitute amendment offered by senators reid, landrieu, and levin because it precisely does what the president asked. it adds essential provisions to the house legislation. among other things, the invest act amendment would retain protections put in place after the internet stock bubble burst, ensure that banks and other large companies with lots of shareholders are subject to basic transparency, integrity and accountability protections and reauthorize the export-import bank which provides crucial funding to
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american businesses and supports almost 300,000 jobs yearly. most importantly, this amendment fulfills the stated intent of the original bill. it provides new opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow by raising capital in a way that protects investors, provides financing so businesses can expand and hire more workers and encourages u.s. companies to export and compete in a global marketplace. in short, it truly invests in america. thank you, mr. president.
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i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mrs. hagan: i ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. hagan: mr. president, i rise today to speak in support of the cantwell-johnson amendment to the jobs act. this amendment which reauthorizes the export-import bank through 2015 is a critical step in our job creation efforts here in congress. we approved this bipartisan legislation out of the senate banking committee by voice vote in october. it is fiscally responsible, bipartisan, and will allow u.s. businesses to create jobs by leveling the playing field for american exporters. and if we do not act with urgency to pass this reauthorization, the export-import bank will not be
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able to guarantee new loans starting may 31. as our economy is finally showing some hopeful signs of recovery, now is not the time to let partisanship tie the hands of our small business owners who are ready to expand their companies and export their products. for decades, the export-import bank has supported job creation in america and in fiscal year 2011 the bank supported nearly 300,000 american jobs throughout the country and $41 billion in exports. in north carolina since 2007, the export-import bank supported over $1.8 billion in export sales by 169 companies. 116 of those north carolina companies are small businesses. the backbone of our economy. the ex-im bank has made small business growth a top priority and this is not just lip service on their part.
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in conjunction with the bank, i have convened two global access forums in north carolina, one in charlotte, one in greens borough, with bank president and chairman fred hotburg. we had over 400 north carolina small business owners attend the workshops to learn more about exporting their products. my four favorite words are "made in north carolina." and i'm proud to work with the ex-im bank to help get that label shipped around the world. this bill also includes an amendment that i sponsored that would add a representative from the textile industry to the bank's advisory committee. the textile industry has a rich history in north carolina, where we have more than 1,500 textile facilities employing over 130,000 people in north carolina now. but the u.s. textile and apparel industry has faced a lack of
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reliable supply chain financing that has caused them to fall behind. fortunately, the export-import bank is well positioned to provide liquidity and financing to this industry it. worked hard with my friend chairman johnson to include language that would give textile and apparel producers a voice at this important agency. but whether it's a small yarn company in sanford, north carolina, a furniture producer in morguenton, north carolina or a turbine manufacturer in charlotte, just to name a few, the export-import bank is truly a life line for growth for thousands of businesses who are ready to expand, to hire, and to export. and given the fiscal situation our country finds itself in right now, i want to stress the following point for my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. and on both sides of the capitol. the export-import bank does not add a dime to our deficit.
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it is a self-financed agency that pays for itself. in fact, it more than pays for itself. since 2005, $3.7 billion has been sent to the u.s. treasury by the ex-im bank and the nonpartisan congressional budget office estimates that a reauthorization will reduce the deficit by $900 million over five years. mr. president, we simply cannot afford to let partisan bickering hold up progress on job creation. the people of north carolina didn't send me to washington to sit on my hands while jobs take a back seat to partisan gamesmanship. reauthorizing the export-import bank is common sense, it's bipartisan, it's fiscally responsible, and it is necessary for continued job growth. i urge my colleagues to support the export-import bank reauthorization of 2012.
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thank you, mr. president, and i yield the floor. mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: we're given an opportunity in the senate to witness many things that have an impact on our values and on our votes. i have found that of course representing my own state and knowing the challenges that families face from one end to the other has really driven me in terms of my legislative agenda, things that are important to me. that's my first priority. i found as i travel across the united states other issues that are of great magnitude and have a real import when it comes to the lives of people across this nation. but i've also taken some time to visit countries overseas. knowing that the united states is part of a world community and that even though the amount of money we may invest may be small, it can have a profound
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impact on some of the poorest places on earth. it was about six years ago that i made my first visit to the democratic republic of congo. this was part of africa that i had never seen before and i went to the city of goma. goma in the eastern reaches of the democratic republic of congo is remote from the capital of that country and has become, unfortunately, a site where thousands of innocent people have been killed. when i visited goma it was clear that it suffered from some of the worst problems of the region region -- poverty, obviously, disease, war, troops that left rwanda after the genocide were living in the jungles of goma. people were being preyed upon and killed, raped, mutilated. and then on top of all that in
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goma sits a volcano which erupts with some frequency so as you walk through the streets and into the refugee camps you find this dried crystalline lava that is almost like broken glass, people walking on it, living on it, trying to make a life in little holes dug out in the lava. it's something you'll never forget, and i have never forgotten. i went there, of course, taking a look at some of our important programs that we deal with, the most important, of course, trying to bring peace to the region. one of the most serious issues in the democratic republic of congo is the fact that in these eastern reaches there are precious minerals which are critical for the development of new technology. we carry in our cell phones minerals which are found more frequently in that part of africa than in most places in the world. and because there's little or no
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government reach in these areas, there are people who have taken over the mining of these minerals and make millions of dollars off them using slave labor and terrorizing the local people, pushing them into refugee camps. i'm working with congressman jim mcdermott of the state of washington to try to establish some standards, former senator sam brownback of kansas was with us. and the object behind that of course is to trace the minerals so that those respectable, law-abiding companies in the west will not be buying these conflict minerals. we're working on it. it's hard. the securities and exchange commission is trying to promulgate a rule to implement something that we passed in dodd-frank with senator brownback's leadership on a bipartisan basis. but my memory of goma goes back some a specific scene and a specific visit. it was more than six years ago, and we were invited to tour a
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hospital. and wouldn't to this hospital -- we went to this hospital and to say it was a hospital by american standards, no american would agree. searching inside the hospital we found one modern surgical suite. and it was paid for by the united nations. and then we went to the wards with the patients. virtually all women, and found them two to a bed recovering from surgeries. outside the hospital, sitting on this lava bed that really covers the city were along the road dozens of women waiting for their turn. they are the victims of something known as object stet trick fistula which means they have either been brutally attacked, sexually a attacked or were bearing children at such an early age it caused damage to them which left them incontinent.
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because of their incontinence they were rejected by family and neighbors and forced to walk hundreds of miles to sit in the roadway and pray that they could get inside that hospital for a surgery to repair this object stet trick -- obstetrical fist ula. they would wait for weeks, go in for surgery, recover, and then go to the back of the line to start over for the next surgery. that was the reality of the hospital we visited. the scene was grim, even horrific. i still remember it well. the reason i come to the floor today is i made a return trip two years ago with senator sherrod brown to goma and to look up this hospital, this small little oasis of hope to try to find the handful of doctors who had been there when i visited just a few years before and to see what had
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happened. i knew that the hospital continued to treat desperately poor and brutalized women of the region who had suffered because of brutal rape and horrific violence. for two decades now this war has gone on, which has led to these victims. regional militias have been fighting over these minerals that i mentioned earlier, too omnibus using rape as a weapon of war. according to the united nations, the democratic republic of congress'o is -- congo is the worst place on earth to be a woman. rape leaves an estimated 1,000 women or more assaulted every day. 1,000 or more rapes and sexual assaults every day. 12% of the congolese women, one of eighth, have been victims. yet there is hope. that small hospital that i saw years ago gave me hope. the two people who started that hospital were lynn lucy and her
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congolese husband, dr. joe lucy. they founded this hospital and called it heal africa. it's in one of the most forgotten and dangerous places on the earth. goma in eastern congo. lynn and her husband joe provided a place of love, hope, rebirth and healing. there was a special on pbs news hour renal that talked -- recently that talked about heal africa, the hospital, and lynn and joe lucy. they survive on $13 million a year, a huge sum in that part of the world but by global standards or american standards, hardly overwhelming. they get private grants from overseas, they provide anti-retro viral drugs to those suffering from h.i.v. and try to repair the bodies of these women. the pbs news hour special on heal africa showed how the hospital worked with the american bar association -- i
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want to give a shout out to them for the work they're doing to help rape victims pursue justice against their attackers. it's the only facility offering services to an area population of eight million people. eight million people. i -- i try to imagine one hospital in metropolitan chicago and that is what hale africa is in goma. in a moving newshour interview, len lucy said, "i have no illusions that we're dealing with major issues that are pulling the congo apart. there's so much evil, so much cruelty, so much selfishness, and it's like darkness. but if we can bring in some light, the darkness will not overcome the light and that's where faith is, if you believe that. i don't think heal africa is going to empty the ocean but we can take out a bucketful here and a bucketful there." that sentiment and that hope
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amidst such cruelty summed up len lucy's heroic work and the without objection of her husband -- and the work of her husband. as i reflect on what i saw on my first trip to goma and what i saw when i returned, there was a dramatic change in just a few short years. had eal africa -- had eal africa, which was -- this heal africa, which was barely existing with just a few doctors, now has universities taking part. secretary of state hillary clinton visited goma and had eal africa hospital. the violence in eastern congo is part of an ongoing conflict and about 3 million to 5 million people have died there so far and it continues. as i said, the roots of the conflict go back to the rwandan genocide, the fight over minerals, elements of the ugandan lord's resistance army, this koni fella, who now people are starting to take notice of, a butcher in his own right, and
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elements of the gong lowlese army that are involved in human rights abuses. there's a united nations peacekeeping force in the region, been there for more than 10 years, i don't know how they can maintain any semblance of order without them. i salute the united nations and those who are on the ground trying to keep a peaceful situation. we saw sprawling refugee camps on broken lava, human rights workers who bravely documented horrific sexual violence. dire poverty and warlords amid any semblance of a functional national or local government. and stopping at len and joe lucy's hospital was the highlight of the trip. when i was at heel africa on -- hale africa on the -- heal africa on the second visit, i looked and saw a classroom filled with doctors. in fact, standing in front of them was a doctor from university of wisconsin. he was wearing a t-shirt which had the wisconsin badge other it. that's how i noticed it right off the bat. that's where my daughter went to
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college. and he said, yes, these are all students from medical schools around the united states coming here to learn and to help. today, the hospital's trained 30 young congalese doctors and many other health workers. they'll have an important job for many years to come. madam president, the reason i come to the floor today is we received sad news. lenlucy, whose picture i'll show you here with her husband, joe, was really the heart and soul of heal africa in goma. the two of them gave their lives for the poorest people on earth. they struggled and persevered and conquered so many obstacles that many of us never, ever see in light. well, we just got word this morning that len passed away from cancer. expiptd to come to the -- and i wanted to come to the floor and remember her and the great work that she has done, which i'm sure will be carried on by joe, her husband, and all of those who've been inspired by our visit.
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to think that this woman would go to one of the poorest places on earth and dedicate her life to help others should inspire every single one of us. mr. president, -- madam president, lynn lucy was like a another 400 employees of heal africa and to thousands and thousands of women, children, and even men for whom heal africa was their only source of quality professional medical care. her death this weekend due to cancer is a terrible loss for goma, it's a terrible loss for the democratic republic of congo and or africa. it's a terrible loss for every single one of us. we need to make certain that what she gave her life to does not end but continues. we have to make certain that her heroic efforts continue through her husband, joe, and through all who have participated in making sure that this lonely, tragic corner of the world is never forgotten. i come to the floor to salute lynn lucy, her memory, her
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legacy and her inspiration. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. durbin: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask that the quorum be be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask that we proceed to a period of morning business and senators permitted to speak up to ten minutes eachment. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask i notwithstanding is $1013, boxer amendment 1903 be agreed to, boxer amendment is 234eubg cal
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in nature, strikes title 5 with the heading entitled "research and innovative technology administrative reauthorization act of 2012." which was moved to division e. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i also ask unanimous consent that s. 2076 be discharged from the committee on homeland security. and be referred to the committee on the judiciary committee. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: s. 2204 is at the desk due for its first reading. is that right? the presiding officer: the senator is correct. the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 22204, a bill to amendment unnecessary tax subsidies and promote renewable energy and energy conservation. mr. reid: i ask for a second reading but object to my own request. officer objection is heard. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the bill will be read the second time on the negs legislative day.
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mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until tours day, march 20, at 10:00 a.m., following the proirp, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired, the time forked two leaderred be reserved for theirs use later in the dare. following leader remarks, the senate proceed to a period of morning business for one hour with senators permitted to speak for up to one hour each, with the twiem equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees with the republicans controlling the first half and the majority controlling the final half. following morning business, the senate will resume consideration of calendar number 334, which is h.r. 3606, with the time until 11:30 equally divided between the it would leaders or their designees.
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prior to the cloture vote on the reed of rhode island substitute amendment. further, following the filing deadline for second-degree amendments to the reed substitute amendment be -- i'm sorry. let me read that again, madam president. that the filing amendment for second-degree amendments to the reed substitute amendment, cantwell amendment and h.r. 3606 be 11:00 a.m. on tuesday. finally, that the senate recess subject to the call of the chair at 12:30 to allow for the weekly caucus meetings and the official photograph of the 112th congress. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. reid: there will be as many as three roll call votes tomorrow beginning at 1 ^1:30. if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that the senate adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
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>> we have even had advice that we do not do as i did today and come in with a plain old white shirt in the summertime, heaven forbid i don't know whether my colleagues feel this would be a better decorum for the senate, and i see the distinguished senator over here nodding no but perhaps the people of ohio would be glad to make a judgment on what they want to see me at tired in in the united states
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senate, so mr. president these are just a few of our concerns in the senate and i am sure that none of us would do nothing differently in the senate of the united states now that we are on television. thank you. illinois holds its primary tomorrow and several polls show a close race in the primary but a poll taken on saturday and sunday by public policy point shows mitt romney ahead of santorum 35 to 40% among the likely primary voters with new gingrich at 12% and ron paul at 10%. you can watch live coverage on the c-span networks and online. illinois has 54% of delegates at stake. mr. santorum is ineligible to win at least ten of those because of his campaign filings paperwork feeling.
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including puerto rico mr. romney now has 521 delegates compared to rick santorum to record 53, new gingrich 136, and ron paul 50 associated press. the winner needs at least 1,144 delegates. >> white house press secretary carney today called on the house of representatives to pass a transportation bill but stopped short of formally endorsing the measure that passed last week in the senate. asked to respond to the house budget plan likely to be released this week the white house spokesman said the bill would break agreements made in the 2011 debt ceiling deal. >> good crowd. how is everybody? good afternoon. thanks for being here. i hope you'll have a great weekend and that some of you still have a decent brackett under way after all those upsets
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before right to your questions, i wanted to start with a statement by the president. quote, last week the senate passed a bipartisan transportation bill that will keep construction workers on the job and keep our economy growing. now the house of representatives needs to take bipartisan action so i can sign this into law. an economy built to last depends on a world-class infrastructure system that allows us to transport our people and goods as quickly and effectively as possible. that's why we need to continue to make investments will create jobs by rebuilding and modernizing our roads, bridges and railway and that's why my administration will continue to fight for the long term investments needed to ensure america continues to compete and succeed in a global economy >> we commended the senate last -- >> you are supporting?
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>> we are calling on the house to follow the senate's lead and pass bipartisan transportation legislation and of the items in the bill will let congress figure out we commended the senate for acting in a bipartisan way on this important -- >> we commended the senate for passing the bill. i'm not telling the house, i'm not going to write the legislation but we are saying the house like the senate should act in a bipartisan way and passed a bill. >> and signed with a statement? >> the president looks forward to signing into law a bipartisan transportation bill because of the absolute necessity that we continue to build and maintain world-class infrastructure. >> we are drawing a distinction. the administration is not necessarily putting out a statement of support on this bill? >> whatever distinctions --
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>> you can draw whatever distinctions you want. we strongly urge the house to pass bipartisan transportation legislation as the senate has. and the president looks forward to signing into law a bill that is bipartisan in nature. we commend them for passing. i don't want to get caught in the semantics here. i just want to make clear that we -- >> you're introducing the semantics. [laughter] >> we want to see action by congress on a piece of bipartisan legislation on this important topic. >> ben? >> a couple topics. on afghanistan, the nation has learned a lot over the past couple of days about sergeant scales, the suspected mass shooting in afghanistan and it's raised questions about his personal history and the strains of war, multiple tours of duty. is the president closely following the case, not just the
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judicial side of it but the personal story of the sergeant? >> i haven't spoken to the president about the coverage of that nature that as you mentioned the president is very aware of the incident. he's spoken about it and for details about the investigation and the individual that you referenced you need to put those questions to the defense department because there's an active investigation. >> but you haven't heard him reflecting on the story or the strings of war or the personal side? >> the president is focused on two things. one gunman as he made clear last week, the incident, the killing of these innocent afghan civilians is a tragic and terrible event and it didn't represent what our military stands for and the american people stand for.
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there's an investigation taking place and we are not going to wait in to that from here. then there's the overall mission that our men and women uniform are implementing in afghanistan which is of course very focused on ahead. they may not have the specific case involved i will keep private curious too when the president culturist president karzai about the burning of the kuran he later explained he did so in large part in the interest of the united states and its troops and keeping them safe. i'm sorry if you've been asked this but can you explain why that incident could put troops in the way why that would
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require? >> i think we made very clear both the president's feelings and our feelings as from the military and a nation about the terrible incident that occurred afghanistan. there is an investigation, active investigation ongoing, and i would refer questions about that and ask you to appreciate how we will respond to questions about it from here. the fact is the vast majority of -- i mean, everything that we do in afghanistan as focused on our goal dismantling and defeating al qaeda sufficiently so that we can train up and transfer authority to the afghan security forces and withdraw our troops as we do that.
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the bravery and courage of our men and women in uniform has been astounding turn out and they continue to focus on that mission in very difficult circumstances. so the president is focused on that. i'm wondering if we should expect to hear from the president on that milestone which right before that or would he just assumed not to make a statement about the health care law and let the outside groups the campaign and others? stomaches august on doing everything he can of congress and independently to help our economy grow and create jobs, to build an economy that's built to last and make sure that we are doing everything we can in washington to bring that about,
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he does speak about health care on occasion and will continue to do that. but he is focused on the forward the agenda right now and working with congress and doing the things he can through executive action to grow the economy and create jobs. the administration is very focused on implementing the affordable care act which as you know has resulted already in benefits for millions of americans, millions of seniors who've benefited and save tremendous amounts of money because of the prescription drug provisions related to the so-called donor pool and the millions of young americans who have insurance to otherwise would not because of the provisions within the affordable care act that allows young folks to stay on their current policies so we're focused on implementing dhaka and pursuing an aggressive forward leaning.
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i have no announcements to make about the president's schedule in that regard. >> what does the president hoped to achieve on his trip wednesday or thursday on energy? how do you hope or plan to make it to avoid making it and move on the president's energy background? >> well, let's just be clear that about two things, one, energy and in general and the price of gas in particular is on a lot of people's minds, understandably right now. number two, this president is aggressively at the keating four and pursuing and all of the above energy strategy as a matter of policy. we will be going -- he will be going first to boulder city nevada where he will visit the copper mountain solar one fasuba become the largest photovoltaic
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plant operating in this country with nearly 1 million solar panels covering 17,000 homes. why is that important? because of the need to continue to pursue and all of the above energy approach that includes investment in alternative energy so that we can reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy. next come shall be going to oil and gas production fields located on federal lands outside of carlsbad, mexico, an area home to more than 70 active drilling rigs. why is that important? because and all of the above energy approach requires the necessities that are aggressively expanding domestic oil and gas production in a safe and responsible way. the president has done that. we have seen oil and gas production at eight year highs. even on federal land oil production is up 13% over the last three years and this president is committed to doing that. then he will travel to cushing oklahoma area to discuss the administration's commitment to
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improve and support infrastructure that helpless leverage our domestic resources while also ensuring these projects are developed in a safe and responsible way. you all of course are familiar with the push into the gulf pipeline, why that is necessary because we have actually a glut of oil that is bottled up because a lack of infrastructure necessary to move the product to the gulf to the refineries there.com said he's focused on that and this is part of an all of the above approach, it is the only way we can enhance our energy security. bling alone is not an answer. if it were, we would have solved the problem because as i just said, we have been increasing domestic oil and gas production increasing the amount of drilling we are doing in the fertile waters and we will continue to do so, but with a very small portion of the world's known reserves but a huge demand for oil in the world
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market to diversify our approach and that is an approach that i think a broad majority of the american people but also support. .. it requires not just his lead, but cooperation by members of congress so that we can get more done to advance a comprehensive all-of-the-about pantages policy that is the only policy that will mature we have greater independence from the need for
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foreign sources of energy in the future. so this is an active agenda, an active policy agenda that he very much the sforza highlighting. >> real quickly, tomorrow night or tomorrow at the sec filing deadline, obviously white house officials, priority action event. can you tell us how many events they have -- number one, how many of as they have attended? and how it's gone? >> i don't have that and permission. i will have to take the question. let me move around a bit. >> what is the active agenda? >> well, we need congressional help to continue to pursue the all-of-the-above approach. and whether that is increasing oil and gas production, increasing investments and sustaining investments and alternative energy, the need to
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highlight this, i think, is apparent in this time when we are facing high gas prices at the pump. and a lot of people, rightly, want to know what the strategy is to ensure that this doesn't happen again and again, annually or buy annually, as it has been happening in the recent past. so the president is very focused on this. as, i think, a lot of americans are expected to be. the purpose of the trip is to make clear what we can do, we are doing, and the kinds of approaches that are necessary to enhance our energy security in the future. >> thank you. governor romney says today that the economy is coming back. the president that the economy recovery has reached a level where it, kind of, inevitable, on a pass where it's only going
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to get better? does that make of it -- make it less of an argument for him? >> the president absolutely does not believe that recovery is inevitable. we need to do everything that we can here in washington to ensure that the recovery continues. it is certainly within the capacity of washington, as we have seen in the past, most recently last summer, to take action that can harm the recovery. we can't let that happen. so, no, the recovery is not so far along now that it can continue without leaders in washington making the right decisions and taking the right actions to insure that we can continue to grow. the transportation bill, i think, is a perfect example of that. failure to advance a bipartisan transportation bill, a kind of
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bipartisan transportation bill -- as you know, that has been passed frequently over the years would result in the halting of numerous construction projects around the country, would result in job loss instead of job creation. we can't let that happen. so washington needs to continue to focus on doing what they can to help the recovery continue. as we have seen the last three years, there are choices you make in the face of a recession like the one we encountered in 2009 that can either double down on the policies that got you into the mess to begin with or chart a course toward recovery. the president made a lot of hard choices in his first couple years in office that have led us to where we are today, which is sustained economic growth that needs to continue and expand.
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twenty-four months or 23 months of private sector job creation that is to continue because, as you know, even though we, in these past 24 months, has seen the creation of nearly 4 million private sector jobs, the holes dug by the recession was something like 8 million jobs. there is more work to be done. >> the legislation, so a piece of legislation calling and the congress to do what, come up with a piece of legislation? >> i don't have a specific agenda to put forward to you for congress to take action on. congress has with dennis capacity, as the test additional points out, the opportunity tech help economic growth continues and the average into the two at least potentially restrain growth or reverse it. i understand, but in general i don't have a list of items that congress could act on.
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the fact is we need to -- you know, we have talked about this within the context of the president's we can't wait its agenda, which is -- he will act on all the things he can. a comedian, and small, that don't require congressional collaboration, often because we have had a paucity of congressional cooperation collaboration, but he said there are things we need to do with congress, and he will continue to do that whether it is on energy or transportation or the job creation measures of the job site that has yet to be passed or, you know, the starting position that he put forward. there is a whole host of areas where we need congressional cooperation. >> how much of this -- i mean, why should we view it as solely a public relations stunt? >> you can view -- you can you -- you can easily -- [inaudible] >> a point by point rebuttal of the attack you're giving capitol hill regarding whether it's keystone, were guarding solar
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and keep energy. scenes like this trip is designed to rebut. >> the idea that the president is focused on an issue that has a lot of americans concerned i think it is appropriate. the idea that he has a comprehensive all of the above approach to our energy challenges, i think, is appropriate to highlight. it is -- there is certainly a long standing tradition of presidents traveling around the country to highlight the agenda that they are pursuing, their policy agenda. that's what he's going to be doing on this trip because it is so important, both in the present and for the future that we pursue this all of the above -- all-of-the-above approached our energy challenges because if we go we will see these kinds of scenarios year after year where prices go up, politicians say, well, we have a plan, especially in election year. often the plan is just to drill more, which is not a single energy expert out there who
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would argue with that solution. we need something bigger than that and broader, and that is what the president is highlighting. >> it's like you were out there doing these trips when -- >> well, a lot of trips focused on,s part of this trip is come on investments the semester she has made, alternative energy. i beg to differ over the course of three years. the president made this trip. the vice-president made this trip. they have also made trips focused on other aspects of this energy agenda, not just recently. let me move around a little bit. victoria. >> what is the message to pakistan a government? amy to market talk about their relationship with the united states. >> message has not changed, which is that we consider the release is a very important. not least because of its importance to our national security interest. it is a complicated relationship
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that requires a lot of attention, and we give it that attention. we will continue to work with pakistan on our shared goals of eradicating the threat of terrorism in the region. there is no question, as i have mentioned before, that the corporation we have had from pakistan has treated to some of the successes that we have had in taking the fight to al qaeda, and eliminating senior al qaeda leadership, removing a senior al qaeda leadership from the battlefield, and we will continue to work with pakistan said pursue that agenda. >> the eighth year but texas is not going away. is there anything that you can do about that with pakistan? again, the night raid, what is the situation on that? your negotiations.
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>> i think is set on friday with regard to afghanistan and the president's phone conversation, recent phone conversation early friday morning with the president's, we continue to have conversations with the afghan government about that issue, and our focus very much is on implementing a strategy that includes transferring combat lead to afghan security forces in 2013 with the aim of all to merely transferring all lead authority to afghan security forces by 2014, in accordance with nato's agreement. on pakistan, again, without addressing the specifics of your question, we understand that there are challenges in the relationship. we work closely with the pakistani counterparts, and we are very clear about what our objectives are in terms of american national security interests.
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>> a jobs crisis in the fall. the president said, look, write a bill and pass it now. the gas price crisis. why is there not a bill that is traveling around the country sank pestis now? >> i think, as he has made clear, there is another building were lower prices at the pump. there is not a three-point play to one. plan, or five. plan that would lower gas prices at the pump because oil is a global commodity. it's priced globally. will we need to do is not pretend that there is some silver bullet solution but focus on a broad agenda that is aimed at increasing production of fossil fuels in the united states, expanding our investments in alternative energy, taking the kind of the administrative action he took a, working with major automobile companies to increase our fuel
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efficiency standards to the point that americans consumers will say one. $7,000,000,000,000.12 billion ba rrels of oil over the course of that program supplementation. so that is the kind of approach we need to take in the kind of person he will highlight on this trip. i think it is important because the american people need to know that there is no easy solution to this challenge, that we need to maintain an across-the-board effort on all these areas of the energy economy, or else we will not get out of this predicament in the long run, which we have to do. >> the next question about health care, the president's signature achievement, so the idea that he may not speak about this on the anniversary seems odd. i wonder what the polling data, when you add up, 67 percent of the public wants to drop the whole bill or just drop the mandate of the nobel.
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talking for two years about educating the public, talking about the benefits of this. does this pull the data suggest the people are buying it? >> the hundreds of millions of dollars that we spent attacking its. we are focusing on is implementing it so that more americans see the benefit that it brings. the, you know -- he is not -- i didn't make any announcement one way or the other about what the president is denim this issue, but we're focused on implementing the bill cannot, you know, discussing anniversaries particularly. i'm sure others will want to discuss this. and that think if you want to look at or talk to americans and look at some of the data on this, if you ask them if the alternative as proposed by some folks who oppose the affordable care act, giving power back to the insurance companies so that
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they can throw your of your insurance policy if you develop a illness or prevent you from getting insurance if you have a pre-existing condition or prevent young americans from staying on their parents' insurance policy, i think the answer will be, no, we don't want that. i think that efforts to -- calls to take that away, take that as positive chases away from average americans will be met with a great deal of skepticism when people talk about this and focus on it. so the president is going to continue to focus on the economy, jobs, energy policy and let others have that debate if they want to have it. >> on friday about disaster preparedness. some on-line. this gives the executive branch power to allocate energy, food, water in either peacetime or wartime. there are some conservative bloc pushing the mission that is the just the white house is preparing for war. can you explain?
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>> i cannot explain the reaction to it. i think it was a fairly standard and routine piece of business. the president's approach to our dealings have been made clear. he made it clear most recently when he discussed it at length a couple of weeks ago. we are aggressively pursuing a policy focused on tightening sanctions against iran, increasing the pressure on iran, and increasing the isolation of the iranian regime because this president believes we have the time and space to do that, ted sees that diplomatic approach and the sanctions approach that can produce the desired result. because, as he said from this podium, talk -- it's easy to talk about war, but you need to talk about the potential implications and consequences of work. he takes no option of the table in dealing with iran, but he is focused on the diplomatic avenue because not only do we have the time and space to do so, but it
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is ultimately the approach that has the best chance if successful of ensuring that iran does not ever build a nuclear weapon. so that is the approach is taking. >> after several weeks, travel focused around the president's energy policy, it all seems to be somewhat inconclusive. i was wondering what evidence you have seen to show that it is @booktv spine public opinion or what effect it's having. >> the point is not -- i don't -- i'm not sure i get this, the point of your question. energy is an important issue. it is a huge issue for our economy going forward. it is a huge issue for national security going forward. the president is focused on the for those reasons. there is no question that americans are very concerned and
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should be about the prices their pain at the pump, and this president is focused on that and understands the hardship that that causes. one of the reasons why he fought so hard, both last year end this year to have a payroll tax cut for 160 million americans is so that that extra money could be in the pockets of everyday americans and enable them to deal with the expense caused by higher gas prices. that was true at this time last year, and it's true obviously this year. so it is the focus of this president for that reason and those reasons. the -- it is also part of a broader argument about where we need to move economically as a country, and enhancing our energy independence is very much a part of a vision this president has for a stronger, more secure america and the 21st century.
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so he is talking about it for those reasons as well, and that doesn't really have much of an effect, i imagine, on today's polling data, but it does have an effect on our long-term economic viability. >> defending his energy policy from this base of rising gasoline prices. are americans buying that? >> again, i would give you the same answer. it is wholly understandable that americans are concerned about prices their bank at their local gas station. the prices are very high, and what i think this president has made clear is the americans, i think by and large even though they're frustrated understand that politicians to tell them that if only there were in power they could fix it with a simple proposal -- most americans understand that is baloney. it is not possible, it is laughable, policy. drill, drill, drill well not to get you anywhere because if it
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could then the fact that we have increased borrowing gas production in this country would have resulted in a decrease in price of the pump, not an increase. the fact is, there is not a direct correlation because it's a global commodity. the price of oil globally is affected by a number of factors including economic growth in china, india, brazil, other countries as well as this one. by a lack of stability in various regions of the world. so to reduce the effects of fluctuations in this country we need to take and all-of-the-above impressed our energy policy, and that is what the president is focused on. >> the statement regarding the police this morning. as the president been in contact with the president of south korea? concerns? >> i don't have any cause to reach out to foreign leaders today. obviously our thoughts and
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prayers go out to the families of the victims and said the french people over this incident , but beyond what the statement we put out, i don't have anything else for you at this time. i'm not -- >> syria, what is the next move? the president recently talked about how they're keeping a pressure, it's a matter of time. yet the violence continues and as of remains in power. what is the next move? >> we are continuing to work with a broad international coalition to isolate the regime, pressure on. we are also strongly supportive of the mentioned. we are helping with our partners to ensure that sanctions against
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the regime are enforced globally , and we are continuing to work with our partners to provide humanitarian assistance. it is vital for every country to understand that the kind of brutality perpetrated by the assad regime against the syrian people puts assad on the wrong side of history. supporting the regime is the wrong way to go, as we have made clear. we are going to work with the friends of syria and our international partners on this issue to continue to pressure on assad, to continue to call on assad to cease the violence and to provide humanitarian assistance. >> at what point is not enough putting the pressure, calling in to seize the violence if it continues? >> i think the president has addressed this issue.
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specifically if you're asking, for example, about providing arms, we still believe that it is not the right approach to take to contribute to the militarization of the situation in syria. we make the point as we deal with the upheavals in countries across the region we look at them very specifically. each country is different. the circumstances in each country is different. the comparison is often made in questions that arrests to this situation in libya and that differences, i think, are often spelled out. so i don't want to predict in the future at what point is certain things happen are don't happen additional strategies might be put in place. i would simply say that the approach we are taking now is the one we believe is the right one, working with the friends of syria, working with the international community to
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further isolate and pressure assad, helping with our allies to provide humanitarian assistance and hopefully further uniting the international community against the assad regime because of hospitality. >> a quick question on gas prices. this election year, the president is not concerned that he is getting blamed for the $4 plus per gallon? >> i mean, election questions encamping questions, you should direct that to the campaign. >> the concern, not concerned the is killing the blend? >> the president is not concerned about who gets the blame. the president is concerned about making sure we have the right policies to deal with this challenge for the long-term. i think that a number of you and your colleagues have clearly pointed out the hollowness of some of the proposals put
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forward by those critics of the president's masquerading as energy policies. they are not possible because you simply cannot drill your way out of this problem. under this president oil and gas production in the united states has increased significantly. both of private and on public lands. under this president's we have signed a permit to build a first nuclear power plant in 30 years. under this president we have taken a path through investment that will ensure that we double the amount of renewable energy produced in this country. under this president we have put in place historic fuel efficiency standards that will do more to reduce our consumption of oil and therefore our dependence on foreign oil than a whole host of proposals that others have put out there
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which they pretend will somehow lower the price of the pub next week. this is not an easy challenge. it the president is being very honest with the american people about what we need to do to ensure that we deal with this challenge for the long-term. so, you know, poll numbers and how people view this, i think, are one thing. good and the policy right is another and more important thing. >> yes. the budget will be coming up tomorrow. can i ask you in advance about two things that would clearly be in it, the call to reopen negotiations on the spending caps to cut another $19 billion out of the discretionary fund and of course the overall question about medicare? very substantial savings. but do you think? >> well, we will wait to see what is in it. i think that the calls the
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aggregate and violate an agreement that everyone signed onto in august, i think, as we talked about before, you know, it has to raise questions of keeping your word and where we are. this is the result of serious negotiation that ended in significant reductions in discretionary spending, non defensive discretionary spending as well as defense spending. and i think all lot of elected officials in both parties have said we need to keep our word and keep that agreement in place. there is another aspect of this that has been discussed troubling of the sequester, another agreement, you know, a handshake, signature that suddenly folks want to run do because they find it inconvenient. the sequester was designed to be objectionable and onerous, but the cuts and defense spending
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and nondefense spending. no one wants to see them going to place. they exist in order to force congress to try to deal with the challenge presented before it and the need to get our fiscal house in order, to enact further legislation that would reduce our long-term deficits and debt. to do that this president believes in a balanced way. bad as the person is to be taken. but we don't need -- and, again, i will have to see the details. well we don't need is another approach this as we have to preserve and extend tax cuts for the very wealthiest americans. we have to preserve subsidies and breaks for oil and gas companies that are enjoying record profits, subsidies that have been in place for a century taxpayers, giving money to oral and gas companies, oil and gas companies making record profits.
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i mean, it's just -- i think that is -- we'll see. and in order to pay for all of that and achieve some modicum of deficit reduction, you know, basically in the medicare as we know it, asking seniors to pay a heck of a lot more, that is just not an approach this president supports. real see what the specifics are when it comes out, but if the past is prologue is not very promising. >> a lot of tension over the weekend to the killing of the taser by neighborhood watch. shot him under very troubling circumstances. no arrests, no charges. is the president aware of this case? >> well, we here in the white house are aware of the incidents, and we understand it. the local fbi office has been in contact with the local
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authorities and is monitoring the situation. our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, but obviously we are not going to wade into a local law enforcement matter. i would refer you to the justice form at this point. >> expressed any comments? yet, the case of professor gates in cambridge pales compared to this. >> i don't have any cover sister party. >> talking about energy that the president is trying to be honest and tried to lead the american people understand there is no silver bullet, is to fix. can you describe his policy, strategy, when with the payoff materialize to smooth out most americans? what is the invasion to pay off for occurs? >> well, if you keep at it, it is a process that improves
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continually. we have already seen our reliance on foreign imports decline in the last three years. we have already seen an increase in domestic oil production. we have already seen in greece is a renewable energy production. we put into place fuel efficiency standards that will have significant impact in terms of reducing our demand for foreign oil. so all of these things will have a cumulative effect to reduce the portion of our energy consumption that comes from foreign sources and by doing that reduce the impact of the speculation in the global oil market on average americans. that is the overall goal for economic reasons and national security reasons. it's a goal that recognizes the simple fact that in the 21st century there is going to be a huge demand for fossil fuel as rising economies continue to grow and as this economy continues to grow. there is going to be huge opportunities in industries that
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ticket vantage of and exploit the need for alternative energy sources. the president is committed to of those industries growing and thriving in this country and creating jobs in this country so that we don't get into a situation where we train our dependence on other countries for foreign oil for dependents on other countries for alternative fuel. alternative energy sources. so, you know, it is obviously going to be -- this is a long-term focus that needs to results in less and less dependence on foreign sources of energy, and that is what the president is focused on. i want to be cleared of the president is concerned about the current dilemma, and he has talked about the measures that he is taking, asking the justice department to reconstitute the unit that looks into the gentle speculation of fraud and the
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other issues that we can address here. but he is also honest about the fact that there is no magic wand you can wave to suddenly reduced the price of gasoline at your local station. >> he said the president was traveling to talk about healthcare, and to the you're not saying that again. is there reason? >> adelle remember saying that actually. i don't think i did. >> you get post is said to be juggling. >> all have to look at that. i might have just -- there was never a plan that i'm aware of to have an travel permit us try said that, but the transcript. >> afghan president, u.s. forces the weekend the afghan ambassador said on cnn that karzai is simply reflecting what our people are saying. what is the white house reaction to that, and what is concerning,
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he is a one day to the president something different to the people of accident to of gas? >> we have regular conversations with president karzai, the afghan leadership. we are fully aware of the concerns that he has and has had about some of these issues. obviously the last several weeks have been very challenging and that has, you know, brought these issues to the forefront again. we are focused on implementing our strategy, a strategy which has, at its core, but the need to disrupt, dismantle, and defeats al qaeda and the need to transfer security lead over to afghan forces, which, in turn, will allow us to withdraw u.s. forces.
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as the president has said, withdrawals of u.s. forces will continue beyond that, we transfer more and more territory and more security responsibility to afghan forces being built up as part of the implementation of a strategy. the a specific set of footprints and what forces will be deployed, and sure it will be worked out. in days with the afghans strategic partnership discussions and will continue to do that. we are very cognizant of the fact that the incidence of late have provided great challenges and we are working through them, but we are remaining focused on what to the mission is. the reason why we're there to begin with, which is because we were attacked here in the united states as part of a plan that
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was hatched and conceived and authorized an executed out of afghanistan by al qaeda. that is the reason why we're there, and that is the reason why al qaeda is the principal focus of our mission. >> that type of rhetoric complicate the u.s. efforts to implement your strategy and to withdraw forces ultimately budget 14? >> we're focused on our strategy. we work with president karzai, as i said, and we at the conversation president obama had early friday morning. the two men see eye to eye on what the implementation of the strategy is in 2013 at 14. there are a number of issues they're working through with regard to some of the things you mentioned, and we will continue to be focused on that and the implementation of the strategy. >> made a point of emphasizing though russia and china aspect of all of this. can you talk about what kind of pressure is being exerted on
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both beijing and moscow to get past that point? >> well, i can't read out to you conversations or diplomatic negotiations. i can simply say, you know, we were very disappointed in the detail. we have made that clear, and we are working with everyone to focus attention on the heinous behavior of the assad regime the weak utility of fighting with assad given the fact that his ultimate giving up the power is, we believe, only a matter of time. and the fact that the syrian people will always remember who was with them in this terrible time and to was not.
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so we are working with everyone to try to unite behind a strategy to pressure assad, leslie assad, and ultimately to get in to stop the violence has to decide perry covers this is continue with all countries, including those that you mentioned. thank you. >> next among a briefing with house republican freshmen on the future of medicare. talk about legislation aiming to repeal the medicare independent payment advisory board which was created under the obama administration is affordable care act. how that the capitol, this is half an hour. >> thank you so much for joining this year today. we are going to talk a little bit about medicare and the independent payment advisory board. i want to start up by pointing out a couple of quotes that i
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have here. first, i have a "of president obama. if you look at the numbers medicare in particular will run out of money and we will not be able to sustain that program no matter how much taxes go up. i mean, it is just not an option for us to sit back and do nothing. we have another what you're. senator lieberman. bottom line, medicare is hurtling toward a demise. our government is approaching a cataclysmic fiscal tipping point while washington is busy posturing for the next election. we ought to be able to all agree that medicare has to be reformed to save it. we ought to be able to do that. we have, but performs here in the house budget the reid of sure that we are about to vote sent. we will have medicare reforms in it. we have seen a bipartisan medicare reform with the ryan white and medicare reform, and we can debate which reforms are
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best and how we need to up proceed in that area, but what we can't do is simply cut without changing the way medicare works. that is not reform. that is what the independent payment advisory board in the president's health care plan does. it basically says, we are not going to reform medicare. we're not going to change medicare to save it. we're not going to change the internal workings of medicare so that it provides more services for less money. were not going to do any of that. lover going to do is leave medicare exactly as it is and when it starts to run out of money have an unelected board have bureaucrats start cutting or rationing, depending on how you define it care. the end result in that scenario is you will have more and more seniors who cannot find doctors
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that take medicare. medicare reimbursements already significantly below what the private sector provides. and it is going to be even worse if it kicks and. what the president has said basically is i know we need to reform medicare, but i don't want to do it. i will just create this entity, this board to cut. and that is -- we are trying to reverse that here in the house. we are working on legislation to do that. there are a lot of folks on the other side you are interested, democrats are interested and reversing and killing that as well. >> thank you, tim. second district of north carolina. i am here, as one of my fellow freshmen and the runners. have been in health care for many years. my husband is a general surgeon.
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this is an issue we are very familiar with. what this bill will do is actually serve two purposes. one, it does repeal the advisory board which is basically 15 individuals who will be making decisions for medicare. what decisions will they be, they will be what medicare will and will not pay for. so as a senior goes to receive care they may or may not be allowed to receive it depending on what the board decides. there is a large bipartisan support to repeal it, and that think that is an essential piece. the other part, rather than just repeating something we have to be replacing as well, and that is what we have dedicated ourselves to. we said over and over again that it cannot just be repealing. we have to reform. the other essential piece here is reform of frivolous malpractice law, basically we have said all along that one of the ways that we can improve upon health care is by putting
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this piece and place. there are estimates of $50 billion a year and up this is the will save money and health care if we are able to reform malpractice of lawsuits. why? because physicians practice defensive medicine every day. the order numerous tests because of the fear of lawsuits. now, we are not talking about leaving anyone unable to be protected in the event that a malpractice lawsuit or to move forward, and there were to be true malpractice. what this does is those losses that come forward simply without merit. and the cost to physicians and hospitals every day because of it. i am very much in favor of this bill. i think it is an essential piece and then, of course, moving forward with hope will appeal of obamacare itself. thank you.
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>> good afternoon. cindy adams, florida 24th district. two years ago we heard the emphasis from then speaker policy. we had to pass the bill to know what was in it. americans across the country were watching, and now they know what is in it. two years later they're finding out. the board that decides between your care, not you, not your doctor, the board. bureaucrats who answer to no one but themselves to decide what your health care will be. not you, your family and your doctor, bureaucrats. he also said this would create jobs. it didn't. also said it will lower cost. it did. also said we could keep our own plans and our own doctors of wanted. you can't. i am here to tell you, that the business of this throughout the district, i was talking to an
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owner of several franchisees. there were telling me about the costs to cover their employees. the fact that it is going up, not down and the fear that they have that they will be it will to recover their employees. this is a problem that the american people are facing. it was caused by this bill that was passed without anyone knowing what was in it as per then speaker posies own words. pass the bill and then find out what's in it. the american people found out what senate, and they don't like it. it's time that we start repealing this piece of legislation. ipad was one part of it. let's get the bureaucrats out of our health care. let's get government out of our health care. let's make the decisions between a doctor, their patience, and a family. thank you. >> congressman, i don't think
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that anyone sitting at your today can argue that medicare is in trouble. we know medicare is going broke. you can look in a number of different sources to see what number you like. ten years is a pretty good average. aarp does this. we know this, and this is not a republican problem. it is not a democratic problem. this is a people problem. so for everyone who has parents or grandparents on medicare, they should be very afraid of this. we set forth a responsible means of fixing medicare in the ryan budget. we all know that we can agree on the fact that medicare is going broke. we have a plan in place that will start to correct and preserve and protect medicare for future generations. instead we are televised. we are accused of literally pushing the grandmother of the cliff. clearly that is the kind of demagoguery we don't even we are trying to take care of our
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seniors access for care. ipad was brought to the forefront by my good friend and fellow physician and colleague from tennessee, dr. phil wrote. and as several of my colleagues have stated, this is a border bureaucrats that is designed to put it washington bureaucrat between the patience and a doctor. that is not what any of our seniors want, and it is passed -- helping get 500 billion from the medicare program. this is going to take place in the form of rationing of care. they can say that it is in, but it is. it's going to take somebody who is in need of a test and have a board decide whether or not that is appropriate. does not the direction we want to see medicare going. repealing this is extremely important, and it has been a bipartisan effort here in the house, and i really hope that we can move in the right direction and get this legislation passed and protect our seniors now and in the future in terms of their access to care.
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representative. >> from mississippi one. this time last year the house of representatives passed a budget, and in that budget relay data from work for future debate and discussion on how to deal with our enormous national debt and the medicare problem that is driving a large portion of that debt. we passed that budget the result was the other side did not want to discuss the issue. they just make commercials of chairman rand pushing seniors of the cliff. over the next two weeks i hope we're going to be able to continue that discussion. those who only want to deal with sound bites and demagoguery have not put forth a reasonable alternative, nor have they put forth a reasonable defense of
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the status quo. right now the status quo is cutting a half trillion dollars from medicare beneficiaries, a half trillion dollars of payment for health care that will results in rationing the royal -- press encompasses out in the care they need. the status quo will also results in an unelected group of bureaucrats making decisions for healthcare for people in north mississippi. i don't think either of those things a good. i am hopeful that we can continue this meaningful discussion on reform of the medicare program while we will protect existing recipients, we will also make sure that the program is there for their grandchildren. then we will also repeal this unelected group of bureaucrats that stand between patients and doctors.
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>> thank you all for being here today. congressman from illinois 14. two years from this friday is when the health care bill first pass. it's absolutely true. we do know, as nancy pelosi said, we know what is in the bill. there is so much and there not to like. one of the greatest things that i have a very serious problem with is the ipad board. unelected bureaucrats deciding the care that our seniors will have access to. we can tell from how this is written that it will absolutely limit access to care. it limits it on two fronts. one is the board can decide what type of treatment can be given. the other that is now spoken about so much buddies to be discussed is the cuts that happen and any savings that have been only happen by reducing the amount that is paid out to physicians. i am hearing doctor after doctor opposition after position seconal undertake any new medicare patients.
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i have to limit the number that i have. so what good is it for someone to have medicare when they have no doctor who will be able to see them? that is limiting access, medicare. many to turn it around and do the right thing and fix medicare for our seniors, our future. that is the work that out to be done. this was the wrong direction. melson think there is an import step we take, and that is addressing the real problem of lawsuit abuse and the high cost that is inflicted because of lawsuit abuse against doctors and hospitals. the amount of defensive medicine that goes in and how we all pay a price for that. tribes of our cost of care that we can have been better seniors in half. less talk about that to my address that to my do all that we can to address the real problem of health care, and that is the cost of health care. make sure that the patient can sit to the document they want to seek a not have a border bureaucrats determining what kind of care it can receive. this is what we can do if we come together and work together to fix medicare. over to mike kelly.
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>> it's great to see you. this certainly is a special week in washington. i am fortunate that i have a group of senior advisers back, in northwest pennsylvania. those of the people i talk to every day and there really we are talking about here today and we are talking about something that they didn't envision. they don't quite understand. so as we sit here this weekend we watch the cherry blossoms, and told it will peak wednesday and start to decline. we also have a group of citizens out there that have peaked and and they're in their decline. my mother-in-law who is 86 this year. her husband harold this year. eighty-six. eighty-eight. every morning beckham, have a cup of coffee. these guys are both veterans of the worst. they paid their dues, and they know, they know they did everything they were asked to do they paid the price. they played by the rules. trying to understand why. why at this time of the life i they being robbed of the most
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important thing our senior should have, and that is peace of mind. after years of virtual life and think he had paid into a program , and presaged no, i'm getting toward the end, but taking care of by the government because i have always paid into this program. let me tell you, they're starting to find out what everyone else has, not just republicans, but democrats are saying maybe we should have read it. maybe we should have looked at what was coming. what is this exactly? an independent import that doesn't answer to anybody, not elected, but appointed. doesn't answer to congress or the electorate, can pretty much do anything they want to do. we already know that medicaid -- medicare under its current model is of going to last. all we're trying to do is fix it. that's all we're trying to do. keep that promise the most vulnerable part of our population, our seniors to have worked hardest, fought the most, done everything that they could to preserve this great country, and now at this late date we're
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going to penalize them. no. not on our watch. not in our time. not now, not in the united states. we will repeal this, and we will have people on the other side you voted for it, but now they're saying they don't want it. probably should have read it and listen to. what was going to under do -- do to those people who i represent, and we are going to fix it, look at these medical malpractice. a little bit crazy where we're going with this and how people make decisions, and enough to build a handle medicare patients. and all these people in telling themselves maybe this isn't the right profession to go into. the oaks, we are at a pivotal point in our history right now where we have to take a look of what government has done. this program has hurt a steeply and we need to repeal it right now. i think you for being with us cabana think my collar. thank you so much. >> thank you very much.
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the independent in an advisory board was devised for one method and one of the only. it was basically to restrict benefits, medicare beneficiaries and therefore reduce the cost of medicare so that money could be spent on the rest of the affordable care act. only in washington did you design a system that would use 15 unelected people by law and minority of them being health care practitioners by law none of that minority being active practitioners to actually decide how health care will be delivered by seniors. that is the opposite of what seniors want. in fact, our seniors want the decisions about health care to be made between a patient and physician. that's it. no one looking over their shoulder, no when deciding whether or not individual cases are prepared are not. and it this is going to be coupled with tort reform. it is about time. i was hot and obstetric as
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giselle is before i came to congress has been 30 years of labor and delivery and the change was dramatic. all driven by the tort crisis in the ad states. there are no more senior obstetricians, they all of the practice. all the groups were eight or nine. a woman going for care did not develop a relationship with the single obstetrician, but a large group. finally the rate in the country when up to close to 40%. all this as a result of the lack of reform. so it's about time we take that up in congress. we sent that bill to the center the year ago, and the senate in its usual course of an action took no action. this time when we send the bill over there will be forced to at least consider toward reform so that our citizens can have access to obstetrics and neurosurgery in parts of the country where they don't have access right now. thank you. >> i would like to open it up to questions.
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[inaudible question] >> the individual benefits. [inaudible question] >> a you talking about the broad law and not just that part of it? well, i would say just the opposite. if you leave that in place you are not changing the way medicare works. you're not changing the rules so that you squeeze more value in a reduced cost. all you're doing is cutting costs in the medicare system as it is currently constituted which by definition will mean less services provided to people , fewer doctors willing to take medicare patients.
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so i think just the opposite is true. let me read this to you. yesterday there was a guy that is called a senior medicare patrol officer in arkansas, my district. he was at the senior center. a lady stood up angry and said, i don't understand why i am forced to pay my medicare premium but can't find a doctor who will take me because i'm on medicare. that is a problem now, and that is only going to get worse. >> you are talking about the obamacare law in its entirety. as a law that 603% americans opposed and it was past and still over 50 percent want repealed. okay. so, i mean, clearly it was from loaded to have a few of the items that people do like. it avoids the law of pre-existing conditions which is something we need to look at.
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allow kids to stay on the program until there 24, 26 so there is access to care. be able -- medications in the doughnut hole. so the law was designed to from lotus view of the more positive factors of the bill itself, but now as we start to roll into the real costly rationing and cutting parts i think you're going to see that number go back up to the number that it was when the bill was first passed and the 60 plus percent in favor of repeal. >> in general, guys here in congress, the spending cuts. $500 billion got spending. why is this not proper? >> your talking about cutting 500 billion for medicare in the form of rationing to seniors. so it is not a sensible or rational or reasonable approach when it comes to us the years access to care. i mean -- >> i'm going to have your
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address that. we all know that if we are going to deal with the debt we're going to have to deal with medicare, among other programs. 10,000 retirees going on medicare every day. there is no doubt that we have to do with cost. but the president's plan, what he does is he said i'm not going to reform it. i'm not going to change the way it works. i'm not going to make it better. and not going to encourage innovation. i'm not going to do any of those things. and just going to rely on reducing line items as needed to reduce services. in my opinion that is a total, about. because just because you are against the ipad does not mean you are not for doing something. investments is the opposite. we are the ones who said, yes, we need to reduce cost. you can reduce cost and harm access to care or you can reduce

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